‘Free wi-fi hurts leisure sector’ | Sunday Observer

‘Free wi-fi hurts leisure sector’

Over 90 percent of hotel guests demand free wi-fi and around 60 percent of the hotels, the world over, offer it free, statistics reveal.

Research shows that around 80 percent of guests, access video content and over 50 percent review online before booking a hotel.

Statistics also reveal that over 80 percent do not return due to bad tech experience. Better internet reviews results in more repeat business.

Therefore, hotels to malls across the globe bear the cost, however, much it may be to attract guests and maintain higher occupancy rates. The annual revenue loss due to free wi-fi is over USD 120,000 (Rs. 18 million).

The monthly cost of bandwidth is estimated around USD 3,000-4,000 (Rs. 350,000 to 750,000).

A local hotel chain which runs a property in the Maldives spends over Rs. 350,000 per 1 megabyte link per month.

Hotel operators said they spend between Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 90,000 per month on free broadband facilities.

The average data download per guest per month is 2Gb.

However, the leisure industry across the world has began to feel the pinch and wants to manage and control the free offer of the facility.

Innovative Data Solution (Pvt) Ltd., (IDS), Managing Director Jeremy Fernando said unless the bandwidth is managed and controlled, the leisure industry will not be able to sustain the free facility much longer.

He said hotels will need to recover the cost by adopting a paid and non paid tier for broadband users. More revenue could be gained through competitive advantage.

Comprehensive solutions will result in more sales. However, tech experts said maximizing bandwidth should be blended with customer satisfaction.

“Our solutions are aimed at helping hotels to maximize on bandwidth while offering the best customer experience,” Fernando said.

IDS launched its latest software platform, centraSERV Version 1.0, for the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka last week.

centraSERV is a Cloud based software platform, developed by IDS to replace intraSERV, which is the on premise version. IDS has been selling intraSERVsince 2004.

Currently, over 100 hotels are using intraSERV in four countries in the SAARC region, including India, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and IDS is in the process of migrating all sites to centraSERV.

The company hopes to introduce its solutions to malls, supermarkets, universities, schools, hospitals and private and public sector institutions this year.

Having commenced operations in 2001 in Sri Lanka IDS is the first company in the SAARC region to deploy a Cloud based Broadband Billing and Management platform to the Ginger Group of Hotels in India.

This achievement was recognized by Nomadix USA, a leading hospitality Access Gateway manufacturer in the world, through a case study published worldwide.

Innovative Data Solutions (Pvt) Limited (IDS), a local software company, launched the product on July 4, at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.

IDS also plans to deploy a Hotel Room Automation system for the local market under the brand name ‘Ape’.